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Lakers icon Kobe Bryant’s massive influence on Team USA, per Nets’ Kevin Durant

Lakers, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Nets, Jayson Tatum

Los Angeles Lakers icon Kobe Bryant may be gone, but his legacy lives on. Just ask Brooklyn Nets star and Team USA forward Kevin Durant.

During the Team USA training camp and in his first press conference since the Nets’ 2021 playoffs run ended, Durant talked about Lakers legend and how he continuously inspires the current and next generation of hoopers even after his tragic passing. KD also spoke about Kobe’s legacy in Team USA and how he always takes pride in being part of the elite group that represents the country in international competitions.

“Kobe Bryant is the guy that all of us looked up to and watched as kids. Even when he was alive and playing, his DNA was embedded in us. From afar, [he] thought us what the game is about, what work ethic is about,” Durant said of Bryant.

“Now that he’s not with us no more, we all want to honor his teachings by going out there and playing with that passion, with that energy every single play.”

Kobe Bryant is one of the most decorated players in Team USA history, having won gold medals in the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship and in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

For what it’s worth, Kevin Durant is lucky not only to have played against Kobe in the NBA. The Nets forward was also teammates with the Lakers great during their time with Team USA in the 2012 London Olympics, during which they went undefeated.

While Kobe has unfortunately passed away, it is truly great to see the current generation of stars honoring and remembering his legacy not only on the NBA but also on USA basketball in general. The Lakers guard certainly remains one of the most influential athletes today, and his Mamba Mentality is one that will surely be passed down.